Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Step by Step

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

My eldest son was struggling over his math problems this afternoon.  He asked me to help, and I have to admit, I was lost.  I called my husband and complained.  I hated math the first time around, now, just to make sure my life was not too relaxed, it has come back to haunt me.  In front of me sat a scratched up piece of paper with my failed attempts to solve the problems. I picked up the phone to call my husband.  He was on an errand,  walking through a store.   He asked me to read the problems over the phone.  Without pencil and paper he was able to solve the problems...and shop at the same time. As he mentally worked through the problems, he explained...
The key was to break the problem up. To solve it step by step...starting with the simplest functions...and in the end...the answer will be made clear.  Initially, I had just looked at the problem as a whole...and felt overwhelmed.
It is funny, for all my dislike of math, this really made sense.  Not only in that moment of doing math with my son, but that little lesson helped me throughout the day.  When things became daunting... I just tried to solve it one step at a time...and in the end...the problems were no longer problems...and tonight I will sleep peacefully.  Who would have known.

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